I’m one of the finest ghostwriters in the country; my 20+ books include two New York Times bestsellers, a phenom megaseller that hit #16 on Amazon.com and has sold over 340,000 print copies to date, and an interview book with legendary author Neil Gaiman that hit #240 on Amazon.com. I’ve also written five Dummies books and a Complete Idiot’s Guide. I cover comedy as a labor of love. But if you need help with a book, let’s chat, because there’s no one better at ghostwriting, editing, and/or coaching. To learn more about my services, please visit BookProposal.net and then email me at email@example.com.
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Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to this BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications.
Other ways to keep up are to follow me on Twitter at @hybender, and/or to visit the desktop and ad-free version of this site at HyReviews.com. (I’m also on Instagram at @hybenderny and Facebook at hybender; but honestly, you’ll be doing me the most good if you follow and retweet me on Twitter.)
In addition, you can use the links below to explore the schedules of all the major comedy venues in NYC; and you can find excellent live comedy recommendations weekly via The New York Times.
That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for February 2020 (with much more to come soon) include:
Friday 2/7: Brian Stack (genius writer/comic for Stephen Colbert, former long-time writer for Conan O’Brien), Keiko Agena (gal-pal Lane Kim on Gilmore Girls; Dr. Edrisa Tanaka on FOX’s Prodigal Son), and David Ehrlich (film critic for IndieWire) are the guests of brilliant improvisor & character comic Connor Ratliff (right; Netflix’s Orange is the New Black, Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, Comedy Central, TBS, TruTV), who transforms into “filmmaker George Lucas (Radioland Murders) as he embarks upon an exciting new career as a comedian and talk show host!” He’s joined by talk show sidekick Griffin Newman (left; brilliant character/improv comic; Arthur on Amazon’s The Tick, Jared Kushner on Showtime’s Our Cartoon President, HBO, CBS, MTV, TBS; feature films Draft Day, Fort Tilden, Night Moves) playing Toydarian junk dealer Watto “as they revolutionize the talk show format the same way Lucas once revolutionized cinema:” The George Lucas Talk Show (7:30 pm, $14, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)
Friday 2/7: Dulcé Sloan (powerhouse comic and correspondent for The Daily Show; Conan O’Brien, @midnight), Samantha Ruddy (Stephen Colbert; warm-up comic and digital producer for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee; written for College Humor, Reductress, Someecards), Doug Smith (Conan O’Brien, co-host of See You In Hell), and more perform stand-up for host Shalewa Sharpe (Comedy Central’s The New Negroes; HBO’s 2 Dope Queens; comedy album So, You Just Out Here?): Whiplash (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Friday 2/7: Jes Tom (sharp, fresh rising star; Reductress; show Cold Brew), Peter Grosz (Comedy Central’s The President Show and Inside Amy Schumer, HBO’s Veep; former writer for Seth Meyers and The Colbert Report; star of over 100 Sonic fast-food commercials), Norlex Belma (PBS doc The Comedy Confluence), and TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo perform stand-up at this comedy show that’s also a voter registration drive for 2020 hosted by Selena Coppock, Alison Klemp, Matt Nedostop, and Jarret Bernstein: Standup 2020 (7:30 pm, $15, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)
Friday 2/7: Comics Kenice Mobley (left; host of podcast Love About Town, co-host of The Pasta Show), Adam Mamawala (right; Comedy Central, MTV, BET; freelance contributor to SNL’s Weekend Update; stand-up album One of the Good Ones), Maya Deshmukh (top right; HBO’s High Maintenance, TruTV’s Paid Off, musical sketch group Azn PoP!), and Jeremy Bent (bottom right; co-star of science fiction improv podcast Mission to Zyxx), andeach try to improvise a coherent presentation based on a set of Powerpoint slides they’ve never seen before. All slides are taken from actual presentations given at business meetings and classrooms, but put together in bizarre arrangements: “How do you move from a slide depicting the annual increase in fertilizer production in Turkmenistan to a slide analyzing gender dynamics in Frasier? We don’t know either, but we intend to find out. Plus an actual scientist, Professor Natalia Reagan (anthropologist and “monkey chaser”), will have her actual, legit presentation ‘improved’ by one of the guest improvisers.” Hosted by Nat Towsen (Esquire, VICE, College Humor, host of Downtown Variety) and Darren Solomon (In Bb 2.0; Creative Director of Quiet City Music+Sound), with music from Eileen Hanley: Powerpoint Roulette (7:00 pm, $15, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Friday 2/7: Ace stand-up from Rachel Feinstein (HBO’s Crashing, Amazon’s Red Oaks, Netflix’s The Standups, Comedy Central special Only Whores Wear Purple; finalist on Last Comic Standing; Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Inside Amy Schumer, The View; films include Trainwreck and Top Five), Marina Franklin (staff writer for HBO’s Divorce; HBO’s Crashing, Stephen Colbert, Jay Leno, @midnight, Chappelle’s Show; Showtime’s“Women Who Kill; film Trainwreck; stand-up special Single Black Female), Mike Vecchione (Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central’s Half Hour and Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing, Howard Stern; stand-up album Muscle Confusion), Sherrod Small (Jimmy Kimmel, A&E’s Black & White, TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), Derek Gaines (NBC’s Will & Grace; Jaybird on The Last O.G.; former host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show), and Lev Fer (Showtime; host of the Yung Daddy podcast): Stars at The Stand (8:00 pm and 10:00 pm, $25 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)
Friday 2/7: Corinne Fisher (NBC, FOX; with comedy partner Krystyna Hutchinson, host of popular Guys We Fucked podcast & stage show, and author of F*CKED: Being Sexually Explorative and Self-Confident in a World That’s Screwed), Mike Vecchione (Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central’s Half Hour and Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing, Howard Stern; stand-up album Muscle Confusion), Ian Lara (HBO, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Stand-Up, NBC’s Bring the Funny; former host of Out of Tune music app), Aaron Berg (documentary 25 Sets; TV series 24 Hour Rental; co-host of CompoundMedia.com’s In Hot Water and The Stand’s Frantic!), Kerryn Feehan (Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike TV; co-host of free Monday stand-up showcase Frantic!), and Vladimir Caamaño (Jimmy Kimmel, CW) perform stand-up in an intimate club space at Union Square: Friday Night Stand-Up at The Stand (9:00 pm, $25 cover and no min., The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)
Friday 2/7: Josh Wesson (Comedy Central, MTV, FX) hosts Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, host of Stoops2Stages, co-host of Sandwich, comedy album Immigrant Made), Hannah Berner (cast of Bravo’s Summer House; host of podcast Berning In Hell), Ian Lara (HBO, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Stand-Up, NBC’s Bring the Funny; former host of Out of Tune music app), Tyler Fischer (HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Stephen Colbert, NBC’s America’s Got Talent, HQ Trivia), Rallo Boykins, and Kris Atkins performing late night stand-up—plus a post-show party with music by DJ Weegee: Late Night Gold at The Stand (11:00 pm, $20, The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street; includes afterparty!)
You can find the vast majority of notable NYC live comedy shows by using the links below to explore the schedules of the following top NYC comedy venues:
Best Inexpensive Stand-Up, Improv, Sketch, and Storytelling
Upright Citizens Brigade Hell’s Kitchen
555 West 42nd Street; 152-seater; one of the most respected comedy showcases in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$12
Upright Citizens Brigade at SubCulture
45 Bleecker Street; What used to be a top comedy venue called UCB East has sadly gone under, but some of its shows live on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights at respected East Village indie theatre SubCulture at Bleecker & Lafayette Streets, direclty by the #6 subway’s Bleecker Street stop; shows $7-$14
The PIT Striker (Upstairs) Theatre
123 East 24th Street; 88-seater; a top venue that’s a powerful rival of UCB, and often surpasses UCB when blending comedy with music and/or theatricality; shows free-$20
The PIT Underground (Downstairs) Theatre
123 East 24th Street; 40-seater; often more quirky & experimental than upstairs Striker; shows free-$10
The PIT Loft
154 West 29th Street; 50-seater; the third of The PIT theatres, located separately on the West side, hosts a wide range of comedy, but is especially effective as a home for intimate solo and/or theatrical shows; free-$20
254 West 29th Street; 60-seat theatre; strong on improv, musical improv, sketch, and energy; shows $5-$10
The Creek and the Cave
Queens’ Long Island City; 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all weeknight shows free; weekend shows free-$10
702 Union Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 50-seat theatre; shows $5-$20
635 Sackett Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 100-seat theatre; shows $5-$20
149 7th Street in Brooklyn; R to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Ave.; 200-seat theatre; shows $10-$25
QED: A Place to Show & Tell
27-16 23rd Avenue in Astoria Queens; N/W to Ditmars Boulevard; 40-seat theatre; shows free-$10
Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs
117 MacDougal Street; among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.
130 West 3rd Street; Comedy Cellar’s larger sister venue, just around the corner with the same top comics; 2-item min.
Fat Black Pussycat Lounge
130 West 3rd Street; Comedy Cellar’s smaller, intimate, and lower-priced sister venue (next door to Village Underground), which serves as its primary home for solo shows and experimental shows—which means it’s sometimes the most exciting choice; 2-item min.
116 East 16th Street; Club closest to competing with Comedy Cellar, featuring top stand-ups on a main stage and upstairs stage; no drink min.—support this policy!
Carolines Comedy Club
1626 Broadway; focuses on the world’s top headliners, who perform hour-long sets; 2-drink min.
Gotham Comedy Club
208 West 23rd Street; headliners on weekends, specialty & lineup shows weekdays; 2-drink min.
Eastville Comedy Club
487 Atlantic Avenue (near the Barclays Center); only comedy club in Brooklyn; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; some shows have 2-drink min., but many don’t
Greenwich Village Comedy Club
99 MacDougal Street; convenient if Comedy Cellar’s sold out; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.
Comic Strip Live
1568 Second Avenue, off 81st; Upper East Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.
Stand Up NY
236 West 78th Street, off Broadway; Upper West Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.
NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams
If you want stage time, you can find one or more stand-up open mics virtually any night at Manhattan’s The PIT, Eastville Comedy Club, and Stand Up NY Comedy Club, and at Queens LIC’s The Creek and Astoria Queens’ QED.
In addition, at the East Village’s UCB East you can typically find a stand-up open mic Thursdays at 6:00 pm, an improv jam Wednesdays at 11:15 pm, and a rare bring-your-own-group improv/sketch open stage Sundays at 11:00 pm. And in Chelsea, The Magnet offers an improv jam on Wednesdays at 6:00 pm, and a rare musical improv jam on Tuesdays at 6:00 pm.
All of the venues above typically provide you the stage time either for free or for $5.
There are also numerous other open mics throughout the city. For a more comprehensive list, please visit FreeMicsNYC.
Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya
Special thanks to comedy photographers supreme Anya Garrett and Mindy Tucker for creating so many of the stellar photos that grace this site…and the sites of hundreds of NYC comics.
From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible Best New York Comedy (and HyReviews.com). He is literally the only person in NYC providing daily summaries of what’s happening comedy-wise. It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive. It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.
Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, provide feedback on my cross-genre short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, hire me to develop your book or screenplay (please visit BookProposal.net or HyOnYourScript.com), or for any other reason by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also find me on Twitter at @hybender, Instagram at @hybenderny, and Facebook at https://Facebook.com/hybender.